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Fridge / Persona 2

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As a Fridge subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

Fridge Brilliance

  • From fast food cashiers who talk like ninjas to jackass genies leading alien-worshiping apocalypse cults, the rumor system justifies every single bizarre occurrence in this duology, elevating the entire plot into Fridge Brilliance.
  • Owing to Adolf Hitler’s appearance as an antagonist in Innocent Sin, it’s common to see Western fans volleying accusations at Atlus of downplaying Japan’s involvement in World War II, but what these fans ignore is that Hitler is the only historical figure of his kind whose inclusion would have made sense. The other leaders of the Axis powers, Benito Mussolini and Hideki Tojo, were both publicly executed, but in the chaos following the Fall of Berlin, no one was able to confirm that Hitler really had committed suicide. His body fell into the hands of the Russians, and for years following the war, the Soviet Union propagated dozens of conspiracy theories about Hitler’s (un)death and whereabouts, including one particularly interesting variation where he escaped Germany and went into hiding in the Antarctic. Sound familiar?
  • At the very end of Innocent Sin, Maya's death feels like such a Diabolus ex Machina—the team just won! They’ve beat the final boss, and they’ve proven Philemon right. But their enemy is still Nyarlathotep, the embodiment of humankind’s self-destructive urge, so of course it makes sense for him to fire the Chekhov's Gun he set up as a contingency when there’s no reason for him not to. Sure it’s not fair, but who keeps score in cosmic chess games?
    • Which also explains why Eternal Punishment takes place at all. Why would Nyarlathotep respect having lost the game, especially when the groundwork from Innocent Sin is still laid out, and all he has to do to get what he wants is nudge a few memories back into place and repurpose his grand scheme around a different conspiracy theory?
    • But perhaps an even bigger Fridge Brilliance, in actuality, Nyarlathotep didn't cheat at all. In order to truly win he had to do it according to the rules in order for his victory to have any value. In fact, throughout the entire game, he never manipulated Maya Okamura directly even once. Everything she did was by her own volition through the scenario he had set up. Everything that the heroes went through in the game? Just a giant Red Herring. She was the reason he chose to have the game be based around rumors, all to take advantage of her vices in order to lead her to the conclusion he desired. The only rumor that mattered to him was the one with the lance, everything else was just fluff. And when she stabbed Maya Amano and fulfilled the prophecy, she also concluded Nyarly's giant gambit in making her kill someone else and doom much of humanity all for the sake of her delusions and self preservation. In short, he won on both fronts.
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  • The Masked Circle’s decision to target Kasugayama High as the first large-scale Ideal Energy harvesting ground seems arbitrary; why there, and not Seven Sisters, another high school that's just as big and with a better rep? More importantly, why not Seven Sisters even though it’s shown to be connected to the Masked Circle through Anna Yoshizaka fairly early on, while no such connection to Kasugayama exists? Cuss High appears to be the weaker target of the two until you learn that the Joker is a student there.
  • Awfully convenient for Eikichi to have those two pink handguns on hand to give to Maya, while poor Lisa is stuck punching things. Seems unfair, right? Only if that's not what Lisa wanted. The owner of Shiraishi Ramen gives out the party’s first weapon set without asking about their individual preferences; Lisa, kung-fu nut that she is, simply passed up the handguns in favor of being the team’s Bare-Fisted Monk.
  • There’s quite a bit of Fridge Brilliance involving the party’s exclusive Personas:
    • Jun and Tatsuya’s Personas, being representative of their exchanged #1 Dimes, get the most benefit from their basis in Classical Mythology. Aside from representing the items superficially (Chronos, the Greek deification of time, for the watch; Vulcanus, Roman god of fire, for the lighter), the exchange itself is symbolized through Apollo and Hermes, who most famously appeared together in the myth of Apollo’s stolen cattle, which ended in the two exchanging what would become their most sacred icons: the lyre and the caduceus, respectively.
    • Because of how much time he spends tinkering with his motorcycle, a rumor spread around Seven Sisters that made Tatsuya a borderline genius with machinery. His starting Persona is Vulcanus, the Roman equivalent of Hephaestus, the blacksmith god of the Greek pantheon.
    • Maya's starting Persona, Maia, is the mother of Hermes. Maya is important to the original Masked Circle as their maternal figure, especially Jun, whose Persona is Hermes.
  • It’s no coincidence Jun and Tatsuya exchange their trinkets in front of a wedding boutique.
  • From the movesets:
    • Hyperion’s signature move, Justice Shot, is unusual among the Ultimate Personas in that, unlike the standard “deals a lot of damage” signature move, it has the effect of bringing enemy HP down to 1. Why? Because Katsuya’s a cop, of course — he wants to bring people in alive.
    • In Innocent Sin, Tatsuya's signature move, Nova Kaiser/Cyther, deals Light and Almighty damage. In Eternal Punishment, it deals Nuclear damage. This could be symbolic of how Tatsuya in EP is powerful, but also tearing the world apart just by existing.
    • The contrast between the movesets of the Innocent Sin and the Eternal Punishment casts brilliantly showcases each team’s interpersonal dynamic. In Innocent Sin, all of the five endgame characters have complementary Ultimate Personas with holistic movesets, and each Ultimate Persona clearly represents an element (fire, water, wind, earth, and ice) each character has maintained since the beginning of the game, showcasing the team’s synergy as a group of Childhood Friends. That closeness just isn’t present in the Eternal Punishment party, who’ve all known each other for a few weeks at most—barring long-time friends Maya and Ulala, and brothers Katsuya and Tatsuya—and remain fundamentally independent of each other. This is, as you might expect, reflected in their movesets; they move away from their starter elements, and their Ultimate Personas don’t sync anywhere near as well as those of the Innocent Sin party (for example, Katsuya and Tatsuya’s overlap—they both deal Nuclear damage and have sun deities for Personas).
  • Tamaki getting beaten by King Leo, a mid-boss, seems like the Worf Effect at work, since she's a Megaten protagonist who canonically beat her game. But there is some justification: at the end of if.., Tamaki frees all her demons and lets her Guardian go. She wasn't using her endgame demons or endgame stats when she fought King Leo.
  • Every other Persona game has at least one instance where making a bad decision leads to a unique Downer Ending. Although neither Innocent Sin nor Eternal Punishment has such a case in gameplay, it turns out that Innocent Sin was always doomed to end in tragedy due to choices that its protagonists made years ago. Effectively, all of Innocent Sin is the Downer Ending path. Also could be Fridge Horror, as it's a much darker take on the series convention than usual: because of something you did when you were a kid, before you could have possibly known about the consequences, Nyarlathotep wins and all is lost.note 
  • Compared to the protagonists personalized Personas, the Masked Circle Personas (except Joker) are all recolors of the gang's 'natural' Personas or demons acting as Personas akin to how the party would recruit them. While it can be explained in part for Sudou, Ginji and Sugimoto who are meant to be the darker paths the party could have fallen down (akin to Yu and the Killer of P4 and their Izanagi's), there's no such reasoning for Anna, Yasuo and Ixquic who all wield Reverse demons as regular Personas. That is until you remember that their Personas were granted to them by Nyarlathotep who's focused on creating ruin instead of actually helping to better one's inner self. Add together he was on the fast track to victory, by this point he was likely only concerned about giving his followers by proxy the bare minimum. Thus, what their given is something that's pretty much the bottom denominator of what a Persona is, enough for them to wreak havoc, but reflects nothing personal of the user's actual heart.
    • In contrast to even the rest of the Circle, is Hanya whose Persona, Drill Hannya, is exclusive to himself only and not even Reversed. While it seems very odd that the weakest of the Circle stands out like that, it pays to remember that Hanya was from P1 and would know firsthand the insanity brought by Persona-related activity thanks to the SEBEC incident and the Snow Queen event. Not to mention he would have been more than aware of the Persona Game spreading throughout the school during that time. More than likely, it was afterwards he decided to try to gain a Persona for himself and got an Upright one granted from Philemon instead of the Reverse from Nyarlathotep.
  • If Nyarlathotep is the embodiment of humanity's weakness, if he destroys humanity, won't he die to?
    • Perhaps he doesn't care. Humanity's weaknesses include self-harm, which Nyarlathotep would presumably exhibit as well.
    • Nah, he's the collective embodiment of the darkness in every person, and when people die their minds return to the Sea of Consciousness. So long as that still exists he and Philemon have nothing to fear.
    • There's a reason why Sumaru City still exists in the original timeline.
  • Tatsuya's choice at the end of the game to remember the original events mirrors how the rest of the Masked Circle tried to make Maya stay when they were children- except this time, it's him that brings ruin by refusing to let go.

Fridge Horror

  • The rumor system, ingenious though it may be, still operates on this breed of Nightmare Fuel. Imagine that, just by spreading the right rumors to the right number of people, you could rewrite just about anything or anyone, even history itself, with nobody any the wiser. Imagine that, just by spreading a rumor, someone else could be rewriting your entire existence and sense of self on the fly. Who knows how many people in Sumaru City have had their whole lives retconned just because a few people wished them ill…
    • ...Which brings us to Ginji Sasaki. He’s depicted as a creepy Ephebophile who uses his position as an idol band producer to take advantage of adolescent girls, but there’s a distinct possibility that he didn’t start out that way. Men who work directly with teenage girls—like producers or teachers—are often considered suspect by others, whether or not they really should be. Sasaki may have been perfectly respectable before the rumor curse was put in place, but once it was, those idle whispers would have transformed him into the sexual predator he is in the game, much like the escalating rumors turned the Masked Circle into The Conspiracy in the first place.
  • Yukino's fate if her Shadow jumps off the bridge becomes much more disturbing in light of Persona 5. Assuming P5’s logic applies to the Persona 2 duology, Yukino’s Shadow dying would imply that her real self underwent a “mental shutdown”, rendering her a nonfunctional, mindless shell without a will to live. In other words, she suffers the same fate as people like Wakaba, Okumura, and Kayo.
  • In EP when the gang get trapped in the Kimon Tonku formation, there's a TV producer who’s justifiably afraid of being trapped. We don't see her again after the spell is broken and everything returns to normal, which raises the question: Was she still under the effect of the spell?

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